Henri-Bruno de Coincy, owner of Belle Brise since 1992

One of the most exciting and longest visits during primeur in April 2013 was a visit to a little-known property in Pomerol, Belle Brise. Not a single dull moment for a 6-hour long visit!

When Jean-Luc Barreau, the owner of Certan de May, visited Copenhagen at the beginning of 1996 to conduct a vertical of Certan de May, I presented him a list of 50-60 properties I planned to see, and he said OK for Belle Brise. I stayed one month in Pomerol. I admit I didn't have great expectations when arriving at this little-known property in Pomerol in May 1996. But things don't always go how you expect them to, so to my surprise, the visit to Belle Brise in 1996 was quite extraordinary.

Belle-Brise is situated in the south-western corner of Pomerol, just under one kilometer from Libourne center and a few hundred meters from the railway (train Bordeaux-Paris). Tiny vineyard in the backyard of the garden!

The soil at Belle Brise is just exceptional - small pebbles and gravel on the surface, 1 meter-deep layer of clay mixed with "crasse de fer" at the top of the chalk layer in the underground. These soil conditions are very atypical and quite remarkable for this part of the district, a section of Réne and Toulifaut on the western side of the N89 road dividing Pomerol in two, where you usually find much sand on the surface and very little of "crasse de fer" in the subsoil. There are 2 ha of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, and the average age of vines is 35 years. A good portion of vines in the vineyard are over 100 years old.

When I arrived at Belle-Brise in May 1996, Henri-Bruno de Coincy, a well-dressed and very energetic gentleman, welcomed me. He is a former bank employee (Banque de Suez in Paris) and bought this property at the beginning of 1991. Belle-Brise is surrounded by a wall and "contains" an extremely well-trimmed vineyard, 80-100-year-old rose bushes by the entrance, and a cozy house with a vinification cellar nearby.

I looked around and noticed an amount of big and new barrels in the corner of the cellar. He is probably the only wine grower in Pomerol and, for that matter, in Bordeaux, who uses these 400 liters of big barrels from Armagnac to age the wine, not the usual 225 liters. There is no chemical treatment of the vineyard. Late harvest, natural fermentation, no malolactic fermentation in barrels, no clarification with egg whites, and no filtration - this is how things are done at Belle-Brise. 100% artisan winemaking without the help of an oenologist! The harvest time is according to the end of the full moon (going down, last quarter).

Henri-Bruno de Coincy is a very passionate wine grower, and his way of making wine reminds me a lot of the genius-like Francois Mitjavile from Tertre Roteboeuf. After seeing the vineyard and favorable location, he bought Belle-Brise – after a tip from a good friend and under the nose of many foreign buyers. He did not know very much about making red wine. He's made Armagnac with his father since he was 16, but red wine is another story. He made a fresh start, and while working with the 1992 vintage, Philippe Giraud (Certan Giraud) visited him. The guest looked around the cellar and asked Bruno de Coincy: "What is going on here, what are you doing?", for there was no temperature control by the vats and no single thermometer in the cellar. Henri-Bruno de Coincy answered immediately: "I am making wine au naturel!". A wine merchant from Switzerland fell so deeply in love with 1992 Belle-Brise that he bought the entire production.

I can't explain why I haven't visited Belle Brise since May 1999 but returned to the property in April 2013. Nothing has changed, Henri-Bruno just got older but hasn't lost his touch, and his wines are still fabulous. They have a very powerful aroma of wild black cherries and incredible balance. Since then, I've visited Belle Brise every year and thoroughly enjoyed his excellent wines!


2023 Belle Brise (barrel sample) 94-95p 

Tasted in April 2024. This property is located on the outskirts of Libourne, near Route Nationale 89, and has exceptional soil. It should be more known because the quality here is high. Very cherry (both black and morello) and fragrant violets. Elegant with finesse and purity, vibrant, complex, and precise. Grained tannin. Lingering finish. Lovely and seductive stuff. 

2022 Belle Brise (barrel sample) 94-95p

Tasted in April 2023. Plenty of fragrant and tasty cherries, intense on the nose, violets, vibrant, layered, complex, and focused. Persistent finish. Excellent effort. 

2021 Belle Brise (barrel sample) 92p

Tasted twice - last time in April 2023. Consistent notes. Fresh, very cherry (both black and morello ones), some violets, vibrant, layered, complex, and focused. Caressing finish. Delightfully stylish wine but understandably lighter than in the recent vintages. 

2020 Belle Brise (barrel sample) 95-96p

Tasted twice - last time in April 2022. Consistent notes.  Fabulous nose of black cherries wrapped in milk chocolate, silky berries, velvety tannin, outstanding balance, sophisticated touch, sheer elegance, and finesse. It's a sensual and sublime effort! 

2020 Corlacy (barrel sample) 92+p

Tasted in April 2022. Different in taste than Belle Brise, more mineral, spicy cherries, silky texture, well-structured and delicate fruit/tannin. Caressing aftertaste. Just delicious.

2019 Belle Brise 95-96p

Tasted in November 2021. Twin brother of 2020! If I tasted this wine blind outside the property, I would immediately say " Burgundy"! Black cherries, seamless structure, silky berries, velvety tannin, great balance, sheer elegance, and finesse. It's a sensual and sublime effort!

2019 Corlacy 92+p

Tasted in November 2021. The second vintage of Henri-Bruno's new property was purchased in 2018. Similar to Belle Brise in the same vintage. However, in comparison, there was less intensity of flavors, a lighter body, and a shorter length in Corlacy. Still, it had enough elegance and finesse to seduce.

2018 Belle Brise 95p

Tasted twice - last time in November 2021. Consistent notes. This wine was powerful and dense, with an intense and significant flavor of black cherries (the hallmark of the property!), delicate, complex, and with a long fruity finish. Pure delicacy. These TNs are from April 2019. When tasted from the bottle in November 2021, this wine seemed to have shed some power away and got a touch of elegance and finesse instead. Still, a sublime effort!

2017 Belle Brise (barrel sample) 93p

Tasted in April 2018. Pure, clean, black cherries, great complexity, structure, and meaty aftertaste. Lighter and softer than 2016 and 2015, but very seductive and charming wine.

2016 Belle Brise 94+p

Tasted three times - last time in April 2019. Consistent notes. A very cherry, beautiful wine, seamless, fresh, excellent acidity, silky fruit and tannin, refined and sophisticated. A perfect Pomerol wine with a touch of modern style. 

2015 Belle Brise 95+p

Tasted twice - last time in April 2018. Consistent notes. This wine was very delicate and refined, with tasty black fruit and splendid length, when tasted in April 2016. Harvest took one day in the middle of September before expected rain, and maybe grapes would have benefited from hanging one week more on vines before harvest. The rain came all right but didn't cause any damage in Pomerol! In April 2017, it was clear that harvest time was rightfully chosen because this wine is a tremendous thrill. Incredibly aromatic, velvety, packed with perfectly ripe fruit and tannin, seamless, long, and sophisticated. Very dense nose of black cherries. Same impression in October 2017 and April 2018.

2014 Belle Brise 93p

Tasted four times - last time in April 2017. Truffy on the nose with this flavor of crasse de fer, very stylish and sophisticated, silky fruit and tannin. Simply delicious wine. However, it delivers a fine performance every time I taste it.

2013 Belle Brise (barrel sample) 93p

Tasted in April 2014. It had a very seductive cherry nose with a powerful aroma of grated chocolate, a velvety texture with silky ripe fruit and tannin, delicate and sublime on the palate finesse, and impressive length. You couldn't taste tannin, which was all packed in velvet. Impressive balance. Maybe slightly less intense than in 2012. Great effort for the vintage. To retaste when in the bottle.

2012 Belle Brise 93p

Tasted three times - last time in April 2016. Consistent notes. 33% new oak Seductive cherry nose, velvety texture with silky fruit and tannin, sophisticated touch, finesse, and impressive length. You couldn't mark the presence of tannin, which was velvety. Great balance. A spectacular effort for the vintage.

2011 Belle Brise 93+p

Tasted twice - last time in April 2014. Consistent notes. 33% new oak. This wine had an intense nose of black cherries, silky fruit, tannin, finesse, and elegance. There is great complexity and length here. Very classy and stylish wine. 

2010 Belle Brise 96p

Tasted three times - last time in December 2016. Consistent notes. 33% new oak. This wine was a fantastic treat with excellent and incredibly intense black cherries, a sophisticated palate with a fat velvety texture, perfect silky fruit and tannin ripeness, stunning complexity, structure, and length. What an achievement! 

2009 Belle Brise 94p

I tasted it in April 2013. Similar to 2010, less tight and dense 2010, more red fruit and less black fruit here, incredible balance. Worth every point of its rating.

2007 Belle Brise 92p

Tasted in April 2013. It was beautiful wine for the vintage, full of life, velvety, impressive ripeness of fruit and tannin, structure, and length.

2005 Belle Brise 95-96p

Tasted three times - last time in April 2017. Consistent notes. It displayed an incredible intensity of blueberries and blackberries on the nose and concentration of same on the palate, very truffy, perfect ripeness of fruit and tannin, excellent structure and depth, refined and sophisticated, and fantastic complexity. Almost as impressive as in 2010; tannin is less fat here.

1964 Belle Brise 92p

Tasted in April 2023. A negociant bottling from Barriere. A rare bottling to experience since the owner then made wine primarily for family and friends. It was a delightful and well-preserved wine, still very much alive. Delicate, truffy, and with silky texture. 

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I remember tasting 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998 Belle Brise during visits to the property between 1996 and 1999, and all of them were well-made for respective vintages without having sharp edges and rough tannin. 1995 and 1998 Belle Brise I would have rated 90-91p, 1996 Belle Brise 89p, 1997 Belle Brise 88p and 1994/1993 Belle Brise 86-87p.

2010 and 2009 of Les Cedres de Belle Brise, Belle Brise's second wine, were repeatedly drinkable, seductive, and charming, silky stuff. 87p. Tasted in April 2013.

The price of Belle Brise is between 70-100 €/bottle, but there's no problem selling it as there's a great demand for it in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and Switzerland. Several 3-4 stars restaurants in Paris have it on the wine list in many vintages.


Stunning 60-year-old Armagnac tasted in 2014 from Henri-Bruno de Coincy, who also owns Chateau Belle Brise. His Armagnacs can be as seductive as beautiful women. Before you know it, you are "trapped".

Already at the age of 16, he's produced fantastic Armagnac at the family estate in the best part of the appellation. De Coincy family has been making Armagnac for 700 years. Armagnac undergoes double distillation (since 1973), while most producers use one distillation. Its name is Fontaine de Coincy, which fetches prices from 200 € and up. He's Armagnac on stock at the property, dating back to the 19th century. In April 2013, I tasted heavenly vintages from 1979, 1973, and 1954, plus incredibly aromatic and orange-influenced Fleur d'Armagnac a l'Orange. Indeed, one of the very best Armagnacs ever produced!

Strangely, recent books about Armagnac don't mention La Fontaine de Coincy. Why? It seems to be a well-kept secret for Armagnac aficionados too.


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